Senator Steans

July 5, 2017

Dear Friends,

 

Senator Steans gives a speech on the Senate floor before the budget package passesYesterday I voted along with my colleagues in the Senate to end this long, destructive budget impasse and set our state on a path toward fiscal stability. I voted to ensure that our schools open on time, that our social service agencies can continue to support vulnerable citizens within our community, and for our institutions of higher education to finally receive funding support after two years without a complete budget.

 

This budget is the result of genuine compromise after years of bipartisan negotiations. It includes revenue and reforms to sustain the state while reducing spending. It will allow the state to pay down the nearly $15 billion backlog of bills so that social service organizations, universities, hospitals, nursing homes and small businesses can receive payment for their services.

 

The state’s budget impasse has gone on far too long, and too many Illinoisans have been negatively affected by it. Without this action, bond rating agencies threatened to lower Illinois to an unprecedented “junk” credit rating. It was time to put an end to the suffering.

 

Unfortunately, the governor did not share that belief. Shortly after the balanced budget passed in the Senate Tuesday, the governor vetoed the package in its entirety. The Senate quickly overrode his veto. Now the House must also override the veto for the budget to go into effect and bring relief to a state in crisis. This vote could happen as soon as Thursday.

 

I have said all along that resolving the impasse would require a combination of spending cuts and revenue. This bipartisan package includes $2.5 billion in reductions to state agencies and programs and spends $1.2 billion less than the budget the governor introduced in February. In total, our plan spends $36.1 billion and brings in $36.4 billion.

 

Importantly, the bipartisan budget includes a revenue plan that will provide our state with long-term stability. Raising revenue is a responsibility we took very seriously. Before considering a tax increase, we attempted to make as many cuts as possible without damaging services and agencies.

 

The revenue package increases the income tax from 3.75 percent to 4.95 percent – less than the 5 percent rate it was in 2014. The corporate income tax would increase to 7 percent. This budget also adds some progressivity to the income tax by increasing the Earned Income Tax Credit from 10 to 18 percent over the next two years and means tests income tax exemptions for the first time. The budget also eliminates three corporate tax loopholes, saving the state $125 million each year.

 

This budget supports communities, education and vital services. It includes an additional $350 million in funding to implement an evidence-based school funding model, which provides additional support for the neediest districts and aims to level the playing field. The plan also appropriates additional funding to support MAP grants for low-income students to attend universities and colleges in Illinois. It funds numerous human service programs the governor had gutted, such as immigrant services, addiction prevention and community youth services, among others.

 

Outside of budgetary matters, this spring the Senate passed pension reform, procurement reform, term limits, government consolidation and school funding reform. Many of these came at the request of the governor, and all were negotiated with Senate Republicans.

 

There is more work to do to alleviate the strain the budget impasse has placed on our state. For now, this is a giant step toward securing fiscal stability for Illinois. I am heartened by the progress and will continue to work with my colleagues to provide certainty for the state.

 

As always, please do not hesitate to contact my office at 773-769-1717 or reach out online with any questions or concerns.

 

Sincerely,
Heather Steans
Senator Heather A. Steans
7th District – Illinois

 

Upcoming events in the district

 

I hope that you will be able to stop by my tent on July 6, July 20 or August 17 at the Argyle Night Market between 5:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. Legislative handouts as well as face painting for children will be available.

 

 

District Office

5533 N. Broadway • Chicago, IL 60640

773-769-1717 (Phone) • 773-769-6901 (Fax)

 

Springfield Office

623 Capitol Building • Springfield, IL 62706

217-782-8492 (Phone)

 

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Contact Us

District Office
5533 N. Broadway
Chicago, IL 60640
Office: 773-769-1717
Fax: 773-769-6901

Springfield Office
623 Capitol Building
301 S. Second St.
Springfield, IL 62706
Office: 217-782-8492